How to Test a VESDA Smoke Detector

Written by marshal m. rosenthal
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A VESDA smoke detector, unlike conventional smoke detectors, is a system consisting of air sampling "stations" that are all linked to a control panel. The control panel samples the air that the stations have received with a laser to decide whether there is a potentially dangerous event occurring, such as a fire. The procedure to test the VESDA smoke detector is straightforward and is accomplished by accessing the bar graph that gives a running account of what the system is monitoring. None of the VESDA's functionality will be impaired by your testing it.

Skill level:
Moderately Easy


  1. 1

    Enter the programmed-in password on the control panel to access the menus -- not knowing the password will lock you out of the system.

  2. 2

    Press the "Menu" button to access the main menu section on the access screen. Navigate to the "Option" menu. Select the "Bar graph" option to display a running account of the level of contaminants being sampled by the laser. View the graph until you are satisfied as to how it is monitoring the area in which it has been installed.

  3. 3

    Return to the main menu. Return the control panel's access screen to its default setting -- this is the same setting that was on the screen when you first approached the control panel.

Tips and warnings

  • You may need a ladder to reach the smoke detector.
  • Entering the wrong password a number of times in an attempt to access the control panel can result in the VESDA system contacting one of the emergency response centres that it is connected to, for example, building security or an off-site security monitoring centre.

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